Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winter Design Competition and Arduino Workshop 5 February 4th! Free Pizza!

The fifth and final ODC Arduino Workshop and the Winter Design Competition will be held Tuesday, February 4th at 6p-9p in Engineering 120.

First, participants of the Winter Design Competition will demo their projects! It's easy to participate if you weren't planning to already (more information here: Participants will show off their projects and be judged by IEEE student officers using the official ODC rubric that will be used in the final competition in March. First prize is a Raspberry Pi and second prize is a $20 gift credit to Sparkfun!

Following the competition, the workshop will be all about project design - how to come up with ideas, planning, prototyping, and completing effective, functional working projects for fun and for the competition in March! The presentation will be followed with a final demo project that will move through the entire process of project development. Even if you don't have an Open Design Arduino Kit this is a highly valuable workshop for anyone involved in the competition or interested in making projects in your free time.

We will have free pizza so come see some great small projects, learn all about project design, and start getting ready for the Open Design Competition in March!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Introduction to Analog Design (Workshop 3) - Detailed Guide

Guide Contents

I. Temperature Sensors
II. Transistors
III. DC Motor
IV. Demo Part 1: Assembling the Circuit
V. Demo Part 2: The Code

I. Temperature Sensors

A temperature sensor is made of a small, special resistor that changes its voltage drop based on the temperature of the sensor. It has three pins - HIGH, GND, and signal. A voltage is applied to the sensor to make it operational, and based on the temperature an analog value will be displayed at the signal pin. The Arduino's temperature library will convert that value to a digital value in Celsius that can be converted to Fahrenheit. 

II. Transistors

Arduino can only supply enough current to run sensors and small servo motors from its digital and analog pins. This isn't enough current to drive DC motors and other larger loads, so a DC amplifier is needed. A transistor acts as this DC amplifier in our workshop (transistors can be used in many other applications. This is just one use.) 

For this workshop we will be using an NPN BJT. The BJT has three terminals - a collector (positive voltage), an emitter (negative voltage or ground), and a base. The base is like a switch - put a voltage into this terminal from the Arduino and current will flow from the collector to the emitter.

Every BJT transistor has a Beta value, usually between 5 and 100. It equals the current amplification of the transistor.